PNP draws lessons from Norway massacre
MANILA, Philippines—Drawing lessons from the Norway attacks that left 76 mostly young people dead, the Philippine National Police is considering a review of its policies relating to the arming of police officers and the ways a civilian can obtain a gun.
PNP Director General Raul M. Bacalzo said the bloodbath in Norway involving a 32-year-old gunman who went on a shooting spree on a secluded island was a wake-up call that violence could strike even the most peaceful countries.
“Maybe these are lessons we can apply to our own procedures and laws,” Bacalzo said in an interview Thursday night.
Bacalzo said the first lesson was in the “profiling of potential suspects.”
“Norway is a very peaceful country and yet it produced a criminal like that,” he said of the suspect Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist.
Bacalzo noted that the PNP now had the technology to simply input connections between individual criminals and syndicates on a computer program.
“Now you can buy a program and just fill in details. Before it was just manual, this person called this number, and this person called this…. It’s so easy now,” Bacalzo said.
The second lesson, he said, was that “I saw on TV their police did not have guns so the response took longer.”
“The suspect was heavily armed. It seemed that they (Norwegian police) had gotten used to not wielding arms. Maybe there’s a lesson there… there are situations really that we have to arm the policemen,” he said.
Finally, Bacalzo said there were also lessons to learn about the relatively easy ways Norwegians could buy guns.
“The facility of their citizens in acquiring firearms is easy. I saw on TV also that the guns used were all legally procured firearms,” he said.
Bacalzo said the Norway incident was saddening. “My first comment was I never thought Norway would have that kind of number of killings,” he said.
“I joked that at least in the Philippines, it was only 57, while in Norway… It’s just a joke. It’s a sad incident,” Bacalzo said, alluding to the 2009 massacre of 57 persons, including 32 media workers, in Maguindanao.
Bacalzo said law enforcement agencies could control only two of three elements of crime: motive, means and opportunity.
“Law enforcement agencies can control opportunity by way of police visibility, proactive police operations. We can control the tools, the guns, we can check firearms, licensed, control possession and carriage. But it’s very hard to control the motive or the intent,” he said.
“That’s where profiling comes in. There are a lot of scientific ways of profiling criminals now,” Bacalzo said.
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